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The Woodlands Business & Commercial Law Blog

Just as opening businesses takes planning, closing does as well

As all current and future business owners in Texas and across the country know, opening a business takes significant planning. A venture such as this is not something that most would take on without a lot of thought. One part of planning that the owners of some businesses often neglect is how and when to close up shop.

Closing a business is not as easy as shutting the doors, letting employees go and trying to sell off unused supplies. For a sole proprietor, the decision to close or sell the business does not need to be run by anyone else. Co-owners, however, must reach a consensus about what to do. Still, even if all owners agree, there are multiple steps to closing a business in a way that ensures all necessary legal protections are in place.

Texas construction law: Seeking relief for developer fraud

Whether dealing in commercial or residential construction, developers are often used to plan and complete building projects. What happens, however, when a developer fails to complete his or her end of the deal? Unfortunately, several people in Texas and in a nearby state have reportedly had the experience of dealing with just that and claim to be out several million dollars as a result. For these cases, and others similar to them, an attorney with experience in business and construction law will understand what steps are necessary when seeking compensation for such losses.

A once prominently known business man and developer, along with his partner, have come under fire for failure to complete several major city projects. According to the firm's former clients -- who include several city officials from in- and out-of-state -- the owners of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners promised to redevelop and renew their cities. This was to be done with a combination of both public and private funds.

Texas business litigation: unfair non-compete agreements

Texas business owners should, and will, do anything possible to protect their companies. In doing so, however, it is important to ensure employee rights are not being violated. Certain contracts, such as non-compete agreements, though valuable for some businesses, may also open the doors to business litigation issues.

Non-compete agreements are not a new concept, but there is a growing trend in the number of employers looking to require employees to sign such contracts. Employers have every right to want to protect their brand, their trade secrets and to reduce competition. This is simply good for a business's bottom line. Non-compete agreements are typically used for those in higher positions or for those who work in certain skilled professions; however, some companies are now requesting hourly employees to sign these types of contracts.

Texas business formation: Create a model before a plan.

The terms "business plan" and "business model" are thrown around quite frequently. While future entrepreneurs in Texas have a lot to consider before opening up shop, what should they have first: a plan or a model? First, it is important to understand the difference between the two terms and how the development of both can contribute to business formation.

A business plan is exactly what is sounds like: a written desire for how one thinks his or her business should operate and perform. These can be extremely detailed and include issues that need to be addressed, including trademarks, insurance, licenses and business contracts -- among other concerns. While having a plan, and alternatives to the plan, is certainly important, does its importance outweigh the benefit of a business model?

Filing a nonpayment claim is sometimes a necessity

While business owners do what they do in order to provide a valuable service to their community, they also hope to make money in the process. Unfortunately, from time to time, they may find themselves in the difficult position of not receiving payments for services provided. A Texas business owner in this position can file a nonpayment claim in an effort to receive the funds due.

Filing a nonpayment claim against a customer may be one of the last things a business owner wants to do. Sometimes, though, it may be the best course of action. After payment demands have been rejected, it is possible to file a claim in either small claims court or in a civil trial court. The amount owed will determine in which court a case should be filed.

Commercial real estate owners need to spend money to make money

Owning and leasing out commercial real estate can be a lucrative business, especially when growth in that sector is booming. Business owners looking to expand or new businesses opening up are always looking for prime real estate in which to set up shop. Texas is seeing massive growth in the retail and industrial sectors. With the demand for prime space increasing, owners of commercial real estate may feel the need to step up their games in order to land real estate contracts with those looking to lease building space.

It has been said that to earn money, one has to spend money. Texas already has its fair share of strip malls and other commercial properties ready for business owners to lease, but some of these buildings have been around for quite some time. To attract potential tenants, owners of these properties may feel the need to make some changes to their existing buildings. Some of these updates may be minor, while others are massive projects.

Businesses often need to make changes to keep up with competitors

Having a tried and true business model is something that takes time to create and perfect. After all, forming a business plan that works best for a company's bottom line is not always easy and often requires changes in order to keep up with competitors. When the owners of businesses do decide to make changes to daily operations, a lot of things will be affected. Texas business owners who are considering making changes to their business models will only help themselves by ensuring any changes made are legally protected.

Changing to meet the demands of consumers is often needed in order to keep a positive cash flow. Making any changes to a business plan can affect company contracts, employees and the general way business is conducted -- along with many other things. In most industries, and particularly in the online retail industry, an increase in demand is often behind the need for changes to companies' business operations. As online shopping is seeing massive growth, retailers are often falling short on delivery times and finding themselves unable to stock adequate inventory.

Options abound for selling businesses and leadership transitions

Unless a business owner plans to close up shop when he or she is ready to retire, transitions in leadership are inevitable. This is not something that is easy to tackle, and deciding the best course of action can present significant challenges. Businesses experiencing a leadership transition may be doing so for a number of reasons, one of which involves an owner's desire to sell the company. Texas business owners who are in this position do have options to help ensure a smooth transition upon their exit.

Many business owners would like to see the company they have worked so hard to build continue on even after they are ready to move on. These individuals have several alternatives when it comes to selling their company and keeping the business going all at the same time. One popular option is utilizing an employee stock ownership plan. This essentially transfers company stock to management and other employees, but allows the original owner to remain active in the company if they so desire. Another option is simply selling to a trusted person, such as a friend, family member or loyal employee, who shares a common vision for the future of the business.

The terms of real estate lease agreements are negotiable

Plenty of business owners in Texas choose to lease space rather than purchasing their own properties. For some businesses, leasing space simply makes more sense than forking over the cash to buy or build. Commercial real estate is constantly expanding, and those looking to lease space have more options than ever before. With so many options, business owners are often at an advantage when it comes to negotiating the terms of their lease agreements.

The owners of commercial real estate create leases that keep their best interests in mind. These leases may not, however, serve the best interests of potential tenants. Before signing a lease, a business owner will only help him or herself by requesting certain terms be added to or changed in the lease agreement that will protect and benefit his or her company.

Recycling company files breach of contract lawsuit

When two entities enter into a business relationship, the terms and conditions of that connection are laid out within a contract. Contracts are the format in which both sides lay out their expectations for the relationship and the various means for resolving disputes. These legally binding documents are important, as they are the primary means of clarifying the role of each party. When a business contract is not honored, in Texas or elsewhere, a breach of contract lawsuit can be the result.

Such is the case for a recycling company that is currently suing the county that contracted for the removal of scrap metal from two landfills. The matter began with a 10-year contract put into place in 2003. The details of that agreement stated that the recycling company was tasked with the removal of scrap metal from the designated landfills. This came after the Environmental Protection Agency ordered the county to clean up the landfills.